In the 40 years since the events at Olivia Records, gender categorization seems to pop up sporadically in the mainstream press, leading to what sociologists Laurel Westbrook and Kristen Schilt call “gender panics,” and then they disappear only to emerge again at some other time. An analysis of gender panics show that people fear some gender nonconformists but seem perfectly fine with others. It turns out that one thing in particular, just one thing, causes and then quells a gender panic, showing that the public has a very peculiar underlying theory of gender.
Meanwhile, the metaphysics of gender is the academic study of what gender is, and who belongs in a particular gender category. In that area, the descendants of the views about gender in the 70s stake their positions today, calling for the inclusion or exclusion of certain transindividuals in sex-segregated spaces. We look at some of these arguments and the contested assumptions that underlie them, and then come back out to the real world to see how trans-inclusive women-only spaces seem to be doing in America. This is part 2 of 2 about the metaphysics of gender.
Guest voices include Sandy Stone, Janice Raymond, Laurel Westbrook, Holly Lawford-Smith, and Robin Dembroff.
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